Distant, milky, mysterious – Chalcedony is an enigmatic gem, with more than a hint of the magical about it. Though there are no myths or legends directly attributed to this gauzy stone, chalcedony is wrapped in rich folklore and is said to have a huge number of potent powers. But before we delve into the mysterious world of chalcedony, let’s take a look at a little of the science behind the stone…
What is chalcedony?
This is where it can get a little confusing. Chalcedony is actually the name used to describe a very broad range of semi-precious stones, but when we use the word ‘chalcedony’ in the gem and jewelry world, we are referring specifically to the milky white-grey-blue variety of the stone.
All forms of chalcedony are created naturally through the growth of the two silica minerals: quartz and moganite. When these minerals grow and interlace, chalcedony is formed. Agate, onyx, mtorolite, heliotrope, carnelian and chrysoprase, amongst a great many others, all belong in the chalcedony family.
Chalcedony: The gemstone
So what about true chalcedony? This iconic variety of the stone, sometimes identified as ‘blue chalcedony’ is what we’re really interested in. With a milky, opaque luster and delicate white-to-grey-to-blue tint, it’s a beautiful stone which gives little away. The stone is found all over the world and forms in all sorts of fascinating ways, appearing in geodes, as a pseudomorph of petrified wood and as a pseudomorph of coral.
A short history of chalcedony
Our ancestors treasured chalcedony. It may not be the most eye-catching of the semi-precious gems available, but it does have one very special property: it’s perfect for carving into. In Minoan Crete in the Bronze Age at the Palace of Knossos, our Minoan predecessors were carving designs into the stone to create official seals. In fact, chalcedony seals have been discovered which date back to 1800BC. Chalcedony is the perfect material to make a seal from as wax does not stick to this special stone.
A little later in history, carved chalcedony rings, created as part of beautiful intaglio designs have been found right along the trade routes of Central Asia. Whilst in ancient, 1st Century AD Afghanistan the gem was used to create all manner of items from traditional seals to knives.
There is historic mention of Chalcedony in religion too. The Jewish High Priest’s Breastplate worn by Aaron, the brother of Moses, is said to have been decorated with 12 inscribed gems describing the 12 tribes of Israel.
We owe the name ‘chalcedony’ to the Ancient Greeks. Though there is no strong evidence, it is widely accepted that the stone is named after the Greek town of Chalcedon in Asia Minor. The Latin form of the word ‘chalcedonius’ appears in Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia and refers to a form of Jaspid.
The great Roman orator Cicero was said to wear a blue chalcedony around his neck as the stone is said to be of particular benefit to public speakers. Known as the ‘speaker’s stone’ the gem is said to help those who must measure their words, particularly lawyers and actors.
Chalcedony in healing
Perhaps because of it’s ‘clean’, milky and soothing appearance, chalcedony has been said to have many health benefits and healing properties over the centuries.
Associated with the fifth or ‘throat’ chakra, many new age healers believe that is has particular benefits for sore throats and throat infections. As the throat is at the core of how we communicate, chalcedony is thought to be of help with communicating ideas, feelings and beliefs – restoring balance throughout the body.
The stone is also said to promote lactation in breastfeeding mothers, alleviate the effects of plant-based allergies, reduce edema, reduce glaucoma and aid the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The magical world of chalcedony
There are lots of superstitions surrounding chalcedony which accompany its supposed health benefits. Thought to help with self-doubt, this soothing, calming stone is said to be of especial help to those who are plagued by anxiety, constant worries and irrational bursts of anger.
For the spiritual amongst us, chalcedony is thought to be a powerful conduit between our realm and more spiritual realms, aiding communication with spheres other than our own and encouraging telepathy or past life remembrance.
Historically, chalcedony was thought to keep phantoms, night visions and nightmares at bay.
Whether you love this mysterious stone for its lucid beauty, its rich history or its spiritual power, you can find beautiful handmade beaded chalcedony jewelry here at SWCreations.